By Ryan Collett
An openly gay man was hired by Mitt Romney last week to serve on his campaign. Richard Grenell will assist Romney’s presidential bid as his foreign policy and national security spokesperson.
Grenell previously served former president George W. Bush as spokesperson for the US Ambassador to the United Nations and held the position for more than seven years. While Grenell spent his years with the UN covering international human rights cases in countries like Zimbabwe and Burma, at home, Grenell was an avid gay rights activist. In 2008, Grenell voiced his support for New York City’s gay marriage initiative.
“It’s not an option for us in New York, but hopefully someday soon it will be,” said Grenell to the Advocate in 2008 when speaking about plans to marry his partner. “In my mind and in Matt’s mind, this is it. We’re married.”
Grenell, who is a Republican, holds opinions on social issues that differ from Romney. Romney is against same-sex marriage rights and supports a federal amendment that would ban it.
While Grenell’s social politics may seem at odds to the conservative Romney campaign, his experience with foreign policy will add credit to an area that critics say the former Massachusetts governor is lacking.
Grenell’s presence in a top campaign position also brings with it important gay rights connotations. Fred Sainz, the vice president of the Human Rights Campaign said to Metro Weekly that, “While I disagree with his politics, I’m certainly glad that a man of [Grenell’s] standing is represented in the Romney campaign.”